CHANDIMANDIR: The Punjab government, led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, has decided to set up a committee to resolve issues relating to acquisition of land for setting up military facilities in the state and another to address infrastructural and garbage dumping problems around the Chandigarh air station.
These decisions were taken during a liaison meeting between the civil and military administration here on Wednesday, with top government and army officials participating in the parleys aimed at sorting out various ongoing issues and preparing a mechanism to address any such issues that may crop up in the future.
The committees will meet regularly to take timely decisions, an official spokesperson said after the meeting, adding that the officials of the government and the armed forces would be part of the panels. The committee proposed to be set up to look into Chandigarh airport problems would be headed by Secretary Civil Aviation and would also have a representative of the airport authorities.
The meeting discussed problems relating to acquisition of land for various facilities for the armed forces, development of access roads and railways crossings at strategic places, bird menace arising out of dumping of garbage around Air Force stations, illegal mining and storage around vital installations, etc.
Observing that he had come for such a meeting after 12 years, the Chief Minister expressed concern that the various issues raised by the armed forces had not yet been resolved. The ammunition depots, for instance, were established many years ago but the manifold growth of Punjab necessitated a relook in the context of the current situation, he said, adding that this necessitated fresh look at the provisions for such facilities. The latter came up in the context of non-promulgation of gazette notification with respect to ammunition depots at Dappar and Naaingarh in the state of Punjab. Failure to issue the notification had made it difficult to stop proliferation of construction activity in the vicinity of the Ammunition Depots, the government was informed by the armed forces, requested notification of the Notified Zone by publishing a gazette. The state government said it would issue the notification once the discrepancies found in revenue records of the areas were removed.
According to the spokesperson, the General Officer Commander-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Western Command Lt. Gen. Surinder Singh and the Chief Minister suggested formation of a joint committee of mid-level officers to meet on a regular basis, instead of once a year, to resolve all issues relating to land acquisition/exchange. The GOC-in-C suggested quarterly meetings of the proposed committee.
Government officials informed the meeting that one of the key demands of the military for acquisition of 388 acres of 5 kanal and 13 marla land to strength security around Air Force station, Barnala, had been pending due to delay in release of funds to PWD to compensation for construction of a new road post acquisition. The issue of acquisition of 5 Bighas and 9 Biswas land in village Bhabat, for passage of Air Force between air force stations at Chandigarh and Highgrounds, was also under consideration and the process would be initiated once the government approval comes, the meeting was further apprised.
The meeting also discussed the military’s concern regarding throwing of mud and cowdung heaps, as well as illegal constructions in the notified area, affecting security of Chandigarh airport and impeding movement of vehicles through emergency exits. Besides removing the mud and cowdung from the spot, the Mohali district authorities have put a stop on further unauthorized constructions in the Jagatpur and Kandala villages. It was decided that regular checks be carried out to prevent such constructions in the future and efforts be made to restrict the traffic of heavy vehicles near the Air Force Station.
The armed forces also expressed concern over drainage connectivity for Air Force Station Chandigarh, with the airport getting flooded quite frequently during monsoons. The authorities in Mohali and Zirakpur had already initiated work to ensure regular cleaning of the drains as well as removal of illegal encroachments that had led to blockage of drains.
On the issue of land at village Bir Gugiana, district Faridkot, which is notified with the Army authorities for training and manoeuvre activities upto July 2020, the Chief Minister agreed to extend the notification for another 10 years, till 2030 and assured the meeting that the extension would be granted at least a year before the current notification is scheduled to expire. The DC Faridkot has, meanwhile, been directed to expeditiously decide the court case pending in the matter, as per the provisions of the law.
It was also decided at the meeting to set up a committee, under Secretary Civil Aviation, to resolve the problem of dumping of garbage at Kambali village, which was causing increase in bird activities and resulting in serious flight safety hazard for operations at the Chandigarh airbase. The committee would comprise army officers, airport director and officials of the Punjab government.
With regard to the complaint of illegal mining and storage nearby Bhabat air force station, the district administration had informed that there was no such mining activity in the area, while the heaps of bricks stalled in the area by brick kiln owners had been removed, an official spokesperson disclosed after the meeting. On the issue of damage to Dhussi bund due to sand mining in the operational area of 15 Infrantry Division District Amritsar and Gurdaspur, the meeting was informed that the state government had submitted its response to the Government of India.
On the problem of camping grounds land for barter, to enable the armed forces to conduct training, the Chief Minister assured that the government would look into the matter. The government proposes to examine the Kandi belt and Hoshiarpur areas for the purpose, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said, with Additional Chief Secretary Revenue Vini Mahajan suggesting purchase of land through negotiation instead of the prolonged and complex process of acquisition.
Another issue discussed at the meeting related to damage to Dhussi bund due to sand mining in the operational area of 15 Infrantry Division District Amritsar and Gurdaspur, about which the meeting was informed that the state government had submitted its response to the Government of India.
Responding to the G-o-C’s concern on filling of posts reserved for ex-servicemen, the Chief Minister said the Guardians of Governance had already appointed 3000 ex-servicemen, which will be gradually increased to 13,000. These ex-servicemen were being paid an honorarium, he added. It was pointed out by the G-o-C that since advertisements for filling of such vacancies were published only in a few newspapers, ex-servicemen and army authorities were not always aware of the same. The Chief Minister directed that all such advertisements be also put on the Sainik Welfare website in future.
Taking cognizance of the request for an MoU on lease of land for Old Age Home and Transit Cum Hostel Facility at Sector 68, Mohali, the Chief Minister directed PUDA to expedite the case.
The meeting was attended by senior Punjab government officials and officers of the Western Command (Indian Army) and Indian Air Force.
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